SABC owes artists R240 million, Ramaphosa must approve new board immediately

Please find attached a soundbite in English by Phumzile Van Damme.

A reply to a Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentary question has revealed that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) owes artists more than R248 million in royalties.

In the reply, the Minister of Communications, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, indicates that the money is owed to artists represented by various organisations, to which the SABC owes millions.

Despite this debt, President Cyril Ramaphosa seems to have little urgency in filling the 8 vacancies on the entity’s board. Now, more than ever, we need a competent board that has quorum to address the serious issues present at the SABC.

These are hard-working men and women whom the President has a responsibility towards. These working artists have families to feed, school fees to pay and must keep a roof over their heads.

Names of the Organisation Amount Outstanding
South African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) R125,804,694.28
South African  Music Performance Rights Association (SAMPRA) R104,214,525.13
Association of Independent Record Companies (AIRCO) R8,800,000.00
Recording Industry of South Africa (RISA) R3,300,000.00
Composers, Authors and Publishers Association (CAPASSO) R6,000,000.00

Furthermore, the SABC currently finds itself in such a dire financial situation, that they might not be able to pay salaries to its own employees.

Parliament recommended a list of names to serve on the board a week ago and Ramaphosa is yet to make any announcements. The DA has written to him to exclude Professor Sathasivan Cooper from the list and we reiterate this call.

Professor Cooper has no broadcasting experience and during his tenure as Vice Chancellor of the University of Durban-Westville (prior to the merge with UKZN), he was investigated for 11 governance issues. The investigator’s report to the Education Minister portrayed Cooper as “manipulative” and prone to “surrounding himself with acolytes”.

Now is not the time to play party politics and stall the process of appointing the board. We need action, and we need it now.

The DA will continue to bear oversight on the SABC board appointments and ensure that the process is corruption-free and fair. The DA is the only party that can build One South Africa for All.

Deliberation on State Capture inexplicably removed from Comms Committee schedule

The DA will write to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Baleka Mbete, so that she reports former Minister Faith Muthambi to the Powers and Privileges Committee.
This comes after the Committee’s scheduled deliberation on the Deputy Speaker’s request for an Inquiry into State Capture involving Muthambi, was inexplicably removed from the Committee’s agenda this week.
By removing this pertinent item from the program, it clearly shows that the ANC in the Communications Committee has no appetite to hold Muthambi accountable.
It is now up to the Speaker to urgently step in. If the ANC cannot allow the Communications Committee to hold Muthambi accountable, she will have to refer the matter to the Power and Privileges Committee.
The report by the Parliamentary Legal Services on the SABC Inquiry found Faith Muthambi’s testimony before the Inquiry “could be seen as an attempt to mislead the Inquiry”.  During the Inquiry she denied her relationship with the Guptas and that she ever interfered with matters of the SABC Board, despite evidence to the contrary.
This report was issued in August last year – nearly 6 months ago. Yet, there still has not been any action taken against Muthambi.
Other allegations level against Muthambi during her stint as Minister of Communications, include the SABC tripling its support for Gupta-owned media publications. She was also accused of leaking confidential Cabinet documents to the Gupta family.
Now that Muthambi has been removed from Cabinet, it doesn’t mean she is absolved from accountability.
The ANC in the Communications Committee tried every possible trick in the book to prevent Muthambi from being held accountable when she was a Minister, now they are protecting her again.

SABC Board confirms Communications Minister was consulted on Chris Maroleng appointment

The SABC board has formally confirmed that it consulted the Minister of Communications, Mamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, on the appointment of Chris Maroleng as COO at the SABC.

At a meeting of Portfolio Committee on Communications today, the Chairperson of the Board, Bongumusa Makhathini confirmed that he had personally consulted with the Minister, as well as with other board members, on more than one occasion.

This means that the need for “consultation”, as required by the North Gauteng High Court’s interim order has been satisfied and she no longer has a role in the SABC’s executive appointments.

Minister Kubayi-Ngubane must, therefore, step back, and allow the board to do its work.

The interim order handed down by the North Gauteng High Court December last year, stated that:

  1. The executive members of the SABC Board are to be appointed by the non-executive members of the SABC Board.
  2. The Minister of Communications will have no right to veto a decision of the Board regarding the permanent or interim appointment of an executive member of the SABC Board.
  3. The Board will make any permanent or interim appointment of an executive member as envisaged in paragraph 1.1 above only after consultation with the Minister of Communications

It is clear that the Minister’s role in the process has ended as she has been consulted.

Any attempt by her to further involve herself in this appointment would thus constitute undue interference.

The DA will keep a close eye on the developments at the SABC, as it seems that the ANC is once again attempting to deploy political appointees to advance a certain agenda. We will not allow this to happen.

It is also the responsibility of the board to fulfil its duty to inform Parliament if any further interference from the Minister occurs and the Minister should refrain from meddling and allow the SABC board to do their jobs independently.

SABC board’s preferred candidate for CEO is wholly unsuitable

Please find attached a soundbite by the DA Shadow Minister of Communications, Phumzile Van Damme MP
The DA has been reliably informed by several whistle-blowers that the SABC board’s preferred choice for Group CEO is Alan Mukoki, a candidate wholly unsuitable for the position.
Despite evidence presented of Mukoki’s unsuitability, almost all members of the board allegedly supported his appointment.
The DA strongly encourages the SABC board to reconsider and save the public broadcaster a likely long-drawn-out battle for Mukoki’s removal as GCEO.
While eminently qualified, Mukoki’s history in the public sector makes him an inappropriate choice.
A 2007 Deloitte & Touche forensic audit commissioned by the then Minister of Agriculture, Lulu Xingwana found that Mukoki and his executives had without board approval, diverted almost R2 billion meant for emerging farmers towards projects that had nothing to do with agriculture, including luxury golf estates, a sugar mill, equestrian estates and residential developments. Some of the beneficiaries of irregular loans were Mukoki’s business associates; and high ranking ANC politicians and benefactors.
Mukoki resigned and was given a R4.5 million golden hand-shake. A few months later the Land Bank was placed under administration and transferred to the National Treasury.  The then Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan described it as being “in ICU”.
Given this history, it is absolutely unfathomable why anyone in their right mind would think Mukoki suitable to be the GCEO of the SABC.
The SABC simply cannot afford to give a high-risk candidate with a chequered past in the public sector the reins of leadership at the SABC.
The SABC needs steady hands. It requires innovative leadership to ensure it can stay afloat without requiring a bailout. It requires a person with a demonstrated commitment to clean governance. Mukoki is quite simply, not that person.

A to-do list for the new Communications Minister

As the third Communications Minister in 7 months, Mmamoloko Kubayi now faces the monumental task of bringing much-needed stability to the various entities of her department, almost all of which face serious governance and financial crises.
With the experience and knowledge gained as the former Chairperson of Parliament’s Telecommunications and Postal Services portfolio committee, Kubayi will have no choice but to hit the ground running.
First on her agenda will be working hand in hand with the newly appointed SABC board to address issues raised by staff last week, in order to prevent imminent strike action and keep the public broadcaster on air.
Other key issues Minister Kubayi will have to urgently address, include:

  • Full disclosure to Parliament and the public of the application submitted to National Treasury for a R3 billion bail-out for the SABC;
  • Appointment of the SABC’s top executives according to the prescripts of the Broadcasting Act and the SABC Charter;
  • Scrapping the SABC’s problematic Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI);
  • Recommending to the President the immediate suspension of Media Diversity and Development Agency (MDDA) Chairperson, Phelisa Nkomo, who has been implicated in serious financial mismanagement at the entity;
  • Appointing permanent top management at the MDDA, Films and Publications Board (FPB), and the Government Communications and Information Systems (GCIS); and
  • Investigating the suspension, withdrawing of charges and full payouts to the former CEOs of the FPB and ICASA.

Minister Kubayi has the opportunity to demonstrate to prove South Africa wrong that all she is an enforcer of President Jacob Zuma by tackling without fear or favour the issues facing her department and its entities.
We trust that she will be a responsive, communicative, hard-working, fearless Minister, or we will have no choice but to push for it to be goodbye, Kubayi.

DA calls for urgent meeting in Parliament and appointment of the SABC board following threatened strike action

The DA fully supports the right of SABC staff to engage in legal strike action.
Many of the demands contained in today’s final letter of demand sent to SABC management by the Broadcasting, Electronic Media and Allied Workers Union (BEMAWU) and the Communications Workers Union (CWU) are reasonable, particularly:

  • the immediate appointment of the SABC board as recommended by Parliament;
  • disciplinary action against former SABC COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s so-called “enforcers”; and
  • full investigation of the “protest policy”.

The brilliant work initiated by the interim board to steer the SABC to calm waters has been stalled, and the public broadcaster has begun sliding backwards.
The SABC has many talented, qualified staff who care deeply about ensuring that the public broadcaster delivers on its mandate to South Africa.
They are therefore well within their rights to take action to prevent the SABC sliding backwards and once again becoming a cesspool of corruption, mismanagement and poor programming.
We will request that the meeting agreed upon by Parliament’s Communications Committee this week to allow for the SABC 8 and BEMAWU to appear in order to tell their side of the story be scheduled within the week.
We are also currently exploring what steps we can take to force President Zuma to appoint the permanent SABC board. Many of the concerns raised by the SABC staff could have been prevented did the SABC have a board in place.
The DA looks forward to engaging with the SABC’s staff, the individuals who work tirelessly, and often thanklessly to keep the SABC on air.

President Zuma must appoint new SABC Board as annual report paints grim picture

Note to Editors: Please find attached a soundbite by the DA Shadow Minister of Communications, Phumzile Van Damme MP.
Yesterday, the SABC Interim Board’s term expired. It is now up to President Jacob Zuma to immediately appoint the new SABC permanent Board to get the SABC’s business back on track.
The work of the SABC permanent Board is especially important following yesterday’s tabling of the public broadcaster’s annual financial report for the 2016/17 financial year, in Parliament.
The report paints a grim picture about the state of the SABC’s financial affairs.
The SABC’s contingent liabilities currently stands at R956.7 million, which the report flags as a major risk to the broadcaster. This is due to corporation currently being embroiled in a number of lawsuits. This exorbitant amount could potentially cripple the already ailing SABC. Other areas of concern include:

  • Recorded losses – R997 million after taxes;
  • Fruitless and Wasteful expenditure – R 145.99 million;
  • Irregular expenditure – R 4.4 billion, of which R514.95 million was due to procurement policies not being followed;
  • Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s bonus – R11.5 million for 2016/17 financial year; and
  • Total Director and key personnel’s compensation – R 79.71 million.

It is of absolute importance that the SABC and Communications Minister, Ayanda Dlodlo, engage Parliament on how they plan on ensuring that the SABC’s finances recover.
In light of National Treasury’s proposed R3 billion bailout for the SABC, civil society and Parliament deserve to know the full scope of the SABC’s financial affairs and how this proposed bailout will turn things around for the embattled public broadcaster.
Thus, there cannot be any delays. President Zuma must appoint the Board immediately to ensure that they get to work on restoring the SABC back to the world-class broadcaster it once was.
The South African public has clearly lost faith in the SABC, and it is now up to the new Board to restore our faith in the public broadcaster.

DA make submissions on SABC editorial policy

The DA has today submitted written comment on the SABC’s Editorial Policy. Today marks the final day for the submission of comment on the review of the SABC’s Editorial Policy, as announced by the public broadcaster’s interim board in July this year.
It is of absolute importance that the public and interested parties have a say in how their public broadcaster is governed. Section 6 of the Broadcasting Act requires the SABC Board to invite and consider public comment on draft amendments to its editorial policies.
The DA, therefore, welcomes the SABC interim board encouraging the public, political parties, civil society and interested parties participating throughout in crafting an Editorial Policy that will ensure that our public broadcaster is truly independent, and delivers quality programming.
The DA has made the following submissions:

  • Editor-In-Chief: The DA proposes removing the GCEO of the SABC from the position of editor-in-chief of the public broadcaster. Top management must not be involved in making editorial decisions, that should be left to the respective line managers, with the Head of News as editor-in-chief of the SABC.
  • Upward Referral: With the principle of journalistic, creative and programming independence of SABC staff as a guiding factor, the DA proposes that news decisions should be made on the newsroom floor, and left entirely to news editors, without the involvement of top management, in order to insulate news decisions from political and commercial considerations.
  • Sanctions for infringement of SABC Editorial Code: In order to ensure that the values contained in the SABC’s Editorial Code are not merely lofty ideals, but rather central to how the SABC makes editorial decisions, the DA proposes the inclusion of a section in the Editorial Code which details consequences for staff and management who violate the Editorial Code.
  • Improving Public Education: The DA proposes that the SABC partner with key Chapter 9 institutions such as the IEC in order to educate South Africans about their civic rights and duties.
  • Local Content: South Africa has many talented actors, musicians and producers who can provide the SABC with quality programming. The SABC must, therefore, in consultation with ICASA, increase in local content at the SABC.
  • Internal Ombudsman: The DA supports the call for the appointment of an Internal Ombudsman, as long as the individual is truly committed to Editorial Independence, freedom of speech, and the values enshrined in the SABC’s various policies and legislation.
  • Events of national importance: The DA proposes that events of national importance requiring live coverage should be limited to, among others, the State of the Nation Address, the Budget Speech, significant conferences of major political parties and state funerals. Instead of the SABC’s programming being interrupted for speeches by various leaders of the ANC.

The DA looks forward to contributing to a draft Editorial Policy once published following the initial phase of public comments.
The DA trusts that our proposed submissions will be considered and accepted in order to improve the quality of content at the public broadcaster.

CVs of shortlisted candidates for SABC board will now be available for public to scrutinise

Today Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications shortlisted the 36 candidates to be interviewed as permanent members of the SABC board.
The DA welcomes the ANC and other opposition parties in the committee agreeing to our preferred candidates and also agreeing to remove problematic candidates such as Snuki Zikalala, Tony Kgoroge, Yakhe Kwinana and others.
The Committee finally agreed to shortlist the following candidates:

  1. Mr Mathatha Godfrey Tsedu
  2. Mr Krish Naidoo
  3. Ms Khanyisile Kweyama
  4. Mr John Matisonn
  5. Mrs Febe Potgieter-Gqubule
  6. Ms Nomvuyiso Batyi
  7. Ms Rachel Kalidass
  8. Mr Thabiso Ratsomo
  9. Mr Rufus Dzuguda Kharidzha
  10. Mr Michael Markovitz
  11. Mr William Currie
  12. Mr Sandile Kama
  13. Dr Deenadaylen Konar
  14. Ms Harriet Meier
  15. Ms Dawn Earp
  16. Mr Michael Bauer
  17. Judge Chris Greenland
  18. Mr Desmond Golding
  19. Mr Manaka Mathumo
  20. Mr Victor Rambau
  21. Mr Tshifhiwa Khorommbi
  22. Mr Mcebo Khumalo
  23. Ms Seipati Khumalo
  24. Dr Thidziambi Nethengwe
  25. Ms Cikizwa Dingi
  26. Ms Louise Vale
  27. Mr Yaasir Haffejee
  28. Mr Kwanele Gumbi
  29. Mr Jack Devnarian
  30. Mr Bongumusa Makhathini
  31. Mr Nkosana Mbokane
  32. Mr Michael Sass
  33. Mr Jim Matsho
  34. Mr Jack Phahlane
  35. Mr Dinkwanyane Mohuba
  36. Ms Leanne Govindsamy

The CV’s of all the shortlisted candidates will now be published on Parliament’s website for the public and civil society to submit their comments.
The DA has pushed to ensure that the process of appointing the new permanent board of the SABC is open and transparent for the people of South Africa to have their say. The SABC is a public broadcaster which serves the people of our country and they must be included in this process.
The DA will continue to push for the process be conducted with public participation to ensure that the SABC is once again restored to its former status as a world-class news and entertainment service provider.

DA to push for public participation in SABC board interviews

Tomorrow, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications begins shortlisting candidates to be interviewed to serve on the permanent board of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).
In order to ensure that Parliament discharges of its duty to select individuals to serve on the board in line with the requirements of the Broadcasting Act, the DA will push that the process be conducted with openness, transparency, and most importantly, with public participation.
As such, we will request that all CVs of shortlisted candidates are published on Parliament’s website to allow the public, civil society and interested parties the opportunity to submit comments on each shortlisted candidate.
The shortlisting of the 363 candidates is set to commence ‪at 09:30 am in Committee Room E249, in the National Assembly Building at Parliament.
The DA encourages South African citizens to participate in this process, and join as Parliament embark on finding the best possible candidates for the permanent board of the public broadcaster.
We intend on carefully considering each application to ensure that the best candidates are selected to continue the work of steering the SABC from the red to the black.
This is also in line with the recommendation of the SABC Inquiry that: “The Committee further recommends that the appointment of the new Board should be a transparent and public process, and that all shortlisted candidates should be subjected to vetting by the SSA.”
The DA looks forward to beginning the work of appointing an excellent, qualified, committed, non-partisan board to ensure that an SABC riddled with corruption, financial mismanagement and partisanship never happens again.